Microsoft to axe Small Business Server?


Software giant Microsoft is reportedly calling time on several members of its Small Business Server (SBS) product family, as part of its push to get more people using its cloud services.

According to a blog post by long-time Microsoft partner, NCI Technologies, the vendor's Windows Home Server, SBS Standard and SBS Premium products are being canned and are set to enter end of life next year.

The products are used by many small businesses to provide on-premise Exchange and SharePoint to their employees.

Some of these products' features are expected to be included in a new SMB-focused Microsoft product called Windows Server Essentials, which will allow them to use Microsoft's online productivity site, Office 365.

It is claimed the product will have a 25-user limit, with further details about its technical specifications expected to be announced next week at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.

IT Pro was awaiting a response from Microsoft to the blog's claims at the time of writing.

According to Microsoft insiders, the vendor has been warning customers for some time that the latest iteration of SBS featuring on-premise Exchange was likely to be the last.

NCI Technologies blasted the move in its blog post, claiming the firm is forcing small firms to move to the cloud before they are ready.

"On premise email built in to SBS with wizards that made the product easy for SMBs to administer always fitted into the space that Microsoft wanted to bring on board in the past, but now all their focus is on cloud," said the post.

"Microsoft [asked us] why we wouldn't want [our] customers want Office 365 instead of having to manage a server and pay for hardware...[but] they simply want to recoup their investment in cloud having announced a [recent] $500 million a quarter loss in its online services division."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.